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Katherine Junk Festival

The art may be rubbish, but in five years Katherine's quirky Junk Sculpture Festival has grown from a simple idea to spur locals’ creativity, to a competitive quest for junk supremacy – and this year promises to be no different.

Last year’s entries included a centipede made from surgical scissors and a clever harmonograph that used pendulums to create drawings – not to mention a fashion-forward skirt made from recycled copies of Off the Leash.

Katherine Regional Arts’ Jacinta Mooney claims the inspiration for the sculpture fest was Marcel Duchamp’s ‘The Urinal’, but the Katherine Tip Shop is closer to the truth.

“The Junk Festival brought people who weren’t artists – your tradies and people who tinker in the shed – who would never consider going to an art exhibition, to think ‘Oh yes, maybe I could make something’,” Mooney says.

With cash prizes for first and second place totalling $3000, the competition has hotted up and this year includes a new category for junk headwear, with the ultimate tinker’s prize of a hot glue gun and drill up for grabs.

Is there a size limit on the sculptures?

“No bigger than a buffalo and no smaller than a barramundi,” Mooney says.

While the fest takes from the tip, it aims to give nothing back. This year ’s opening gala will have no disposable plates, a water bubbler rather than bottles, and the fest has purchased carbon credits to cover its footprint.

“Junk sculpture is to get people to have a go at making art, trying to get people to consider how much they consume and think about refusing to buy things,” Mooney says of the festival’s ethos.

Opening night is expected to attract 800 people, with Ngukkur’s Lonely Boys rocking the crowd and buffalo burgers to feed the hungry art lovers.

See the event listing.

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